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 Animal ecology

 Intertidal Organisms

In the muddy shore environment at Pu-Bian, Wujiang Estuary and Guningtou in Kinmen’s Houjiang Bay, the soil is made of exceedingly fine granules rich in organic elements, providing bountiful nutrients for the organisms and turning the area into an ecological surrounding with rich diversities of organisms.  Due to differential in the environment conditions, intertidal organisms have evolved to possess unique traits that allow them to accommodate to their environment that exhibits dramatic changes in humidity, temperature and salt concentration.  However, it is also due to the regularity of the intertidal area that the organisms are shown to possess regularity in biological compositions and ecological activities.  This quality has also helped to nurture abundant intertidal-zone animals and plants.

Organisms commonly seen in the intertidal zone are primarily fish, Mollusca, Coelenterates and Crustaceans.  On the beach during low tides, one can find mudskippers, sandworms, fiddler crabs, pebble crabs, soldier crabs, sand crabs, oysters, sea acorn, seashore slug, birds, and other organisms inhabiting in this area, enriching the intertidal zone with greater charms.

 Horseshoe Crab

Horseshoe crabs
Horseshoe crabs live in the shallow sandy ocean waters and are primarily found in the oceans near western to northwestern Kinmen, especially between Houfeng Harbor and Shui-Tou at Wujiang Estuary.  Because of its resemblance to a horseshoe or a soldier’s helmet, the omnivorous horseshoe crab is also called “helmet fish”.  Since a male and female horseshoe crab always appear in the water together in pairs, some people also call the “lovebirds fish” or “couple fish”.  They grow in an extremely slow pace, and it takes numerous changes of shell before it becomes a mature horseshoe carb.  Female horseshoe crabs will grow to be larger in scale than male horseshoe crabs.  Each November, they will begin swimming from the shallow ocean waters towards deep ocean waters to live through the winter, and they will move again towards the shallow area to reproduce and lay eggs next April through May.


Banded krait、Asian common toad、Rice field frog、Gunther's frog

 Common Mime (Linnaeus)

This butterfly’s main feature is its yellow speckled patterns on the hind wing horn and on the back.  It is a butterfly specie unique to the Kinmen area and is distributed in Kinmen, Southern China and South Asia regions; it has never been spotted in Taiwan.  The butterflies reach the highest quantity each May through September.  Its larva will feed off the pond spice and the imago primarily absorbs the honey of Spanish flag and wedelia.  They can be spotted in Sun Yat-sen Memorial Forest, Wuhu Mountain region and Kukang Lake.


The great variety of birds
The great variety of birds display Kinmen’s richest and most signature groups of animals, and they are also the most precious sources of conservation at Kinmen National park.  Currently, there are about 550 kinds of birds all over Taiwan (including Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu) that have been recorded.  There are more than 300 kinds in Kinmen region alone, making it the leader in birds variety in Taiwan.  Since Kinmen is located at the border of Palearctic realm and Oriental realm and is geographically close to Southern China, the region’s bird variety is greatly related to the birds found in these two regions.

Bird species found in Kinmen region are significantly different from those found in Taiwan’s mainland.  Amongst them, Blue-Tailed Bee-Eater and Little Crow are bird species that have never appeared in mainland Taiwan.  On the other hand, even though hoopoe, common magpie, collared crow, pied kingfisher and white-breasted kingfisher are rare species in Taiwan, they are commonly seen in Kinmen.  This fact is largely due to Kinmen’s proximity to China’s southeastern seashore.

 Blue-Tailed Bee-Eater

The blue-tailed bee-eater belongs to the Meropidae family.  Their thin, long, downward curving beak is their best bug-capturing weapon.  Blue-tailed bee-eaters can be easily identified by their chestnut-red throat and bright blue wings.  When they are capturing butterflies and insects in the summer sky, the bee-eaters look just like some lively and lovely, mischievously flying and dancing fairies.  The blue-tailed bee-eaters are primarily distributed throughout Southeast Asia, the Philippines, India, Southeastern China and Hainan Island, and they are the most commonly seen summer season birds in Kinmen. 


European otters are a relatively larger-sized wild terrestrial mammals in Kinmen. European otters are amphibious nocturnal mammals that can swim in the waters and also walk on land, showing great agility in both conditions. Most of their activities take place at night, and they catch fish, shrimps, and crabs as their dietary source. They usually choose to inhabit fresh water areas where there are crystal-clear water, low pollution, few interference and ample food resources. Today, European otters around the world are on the brink of extinction due to changes and pollutions in the natural environment, and they have been completely out of sight in mainland Taiwan. Therefore, appropriate conservation of the otters’ habitat in Kinmen area is necessary in order to provide a sustainable environment for them in the region. 
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